Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It begins with...


58:4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.

58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

58:6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Later today, I will get to swim around in scripture with a curious and lively group of high school students. I will listen to Joel or Isaiah. I will recite Psalm 51 (Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.). I will have ashes smeared on my forehead -- remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return.

I sense this Lenten season begins for me with commitment. These days, I find it hard to be lukewarm, hard to be unsalty salt, hard to keep my light hidden. When I visited the lectionary readings that launch this journey, I was captured by the words from Isaiah -- less about a fast of meekness, mourning and repentance, more a fast of committing to justice, mercy, service, love. 

And so I take the first step on a path with a trajectory both familiar and new, toward a destination both known and mysterious.

And while I live and breathe, I commit to be available, present, awake, alive.

58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

58:12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

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